2002 Roadtrek 190 Versatile - How I got to this Point

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2002 Roadtrek 190 Versatile - How I got to this Point

Post by kurtfranz »

This is the first post I should have made in that I will provide some background on things.

This is my third RV/Camper. My first was a 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia. For the uninitiated, the Vanagon, it is not the cool looking "roundy" bus that is associated with the peace movement and hippies. It is an awkward boxy looking van that looks similar to the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. It had a pop top and a nice clean open layout inside that provided just what was needed for camping and traveling. I really liked it except for the fact it had a 67 HP air cooled engine that would not exceed 35 mph up a hill without a running head of steam. I purchased the van for $1100 and did a nice restoration job on it. It had no rust and I rebuilt the engine. We used it for a few years and I eventually sold it to a young couple who fell in love with it at first sight. I would have kept it were it not for the anemic engine. I never felt like I could trust it.

A few years later a co worker sold me his 1994 Palomino Colt pop up camper. I still have this camper and it will be going up for sale this summer when I am back to my Ohio residence. It is an 8' box and is in great condition. My wife an I have used it a few times, but decided that it does not really fit our needs - which is more geared towards traveling with multiple short duration stops as opposed to camping trips where one stays put for a week or so. Also, setting up a popup is a drag and gets old - not terribly difficult - but if you own one you know what I am saying.

That leads to now. Since we are snowbirds so to speak we travel back and forth between Ohio and Florida. I always drive straight through and it always takes between 18 and 19 hours. Since we have been wanting to do some traveling, we had been discussing getting a small class C to accommodate our needs. There is a company called Cruise America that refurbs and sells its rental units. They have one called a Thor Majestic 19G which is 21 feet long which is about as big as we wanted to go. I was serious considering one of these but found out that our HOA would not allow us to park the RV at our home unless it would fit under the carport. Well that ended that endeavor. If I am going to have something it has to be at my home so I can "play" with it so to speak. No way am I renting space and traveling to pick it up and work on it.

After a few months I got to thinking about the Westy and how much I liked the convenience and size of it. It was a vehicle that could be used every day and was fun to drive and could be parked at home. I had recalled a few years prior on a trip with my wife seeing a cool looking little van/RV cruising up next to us on the interstate. I remembered asking my wife what the name of it was that was visible on the side and her telling me Road something. So I started searching an lo and behold I figured out it was a Roadtrek that I saw that day. That was about a year ago, and I had been researching and looking for one ever since then. I started out on Craigslist, looked at a few pieces of crap that were totally misrepresented and over priced, got a scam attempt once, found a few good deals that were gone within hours of being posted, and looked at a few on dealer lots that were nice but way out of my price range. When we first started looking, I was completely naive and unaware of how popular these things really are - and how pricey as well. Also, the Roadtrek is the only one that fits under our carport.

Well, about 3 months ago I saw one posted on RVtrader.com that was about 80 miles from our place in Florida. By this time I was getting really discouraged and tired of what seemed like a rat race for any decent specimen at a reasonable (not good mind you) price. That vehicle was the one I ended up buying, however there is more to the story here. I went and looked at the van. It was as described by the owner. Took it for a test drive and it was great. There were two sticking points for me that day. One was the paint that was peeling - it was pretty bad in a few spots as all of those Chevy Vans from that era tended to be. I did not really want to be fooling around with that. Also, it had rust on the undercarriage, albeit surface rust and not serious, it was still rust and I wanted something rust free like from California. And finally the sleeping area seemed to be too small - the bed is setup to be slept "across the rear" in a Roadtrek Versatile as opposed to "front to back" in the Popular model. Also the owner was not to keen on lowering his price too much - so I passed. On the drive home I was kind of questioning myself because this was by far the nicest van I looked at that was in my price range. Was I nit picking and having too high of expectations? Who knows right. So I forgot about it sort of.

By now I figured I would just give it up for a while as I was getting burned out. Still, I had to keep looking and came across a 2007 210 Popular that was up in the Tampa area. For the heck of it I called and the owner said he still had it but someone just looked at it but made no commitment so I could come and check it out. My wife came with me and fell in love with it as the 210 is a tad bigger and had a wet bath and such. I thought it was over priced - like everything seems to me - and I was not impressed by the ride. It just seemed like a big slug kind of, not fun to drive like the one that I just passed up on - so that was on my mind. We looked at it and the owner told me that someone else was coming after me and I said I would get back with him. I figured that that was a sales tactic to get me to make an offer. My wife and I went back to our car and my wife convinced me to go back up to the house and tell him we would take it at his asking price. When he answered the door he was kind of taken aback when I told him that we wanted it and would give him his asking price. I went in the house and we discussed it and told him we could go to the bank the upcoming weekend etc and he was good with that. I told him that I would give him a deposit and he said it was not necessary and we agreed to touch base the following day to get things finalized. Then we left.

On the ride home I texted him (I know I should not be doing that while driving) and told him we could go to the bank on Saturday and would that work etc. I did not receive any answer and I told my wife that something did not seem right and that I think this deal is not going to happen because a motivated seller would be getting back to a buyer in a timely manner. My wife thought I was paranoid and over thinking things like I always do. Sure enough, I get a text late the next day with the owner telling me that his daughter was in a car accident and they have to go to help her out so they could not go to the bank as planned. Then the next day I got another message telling me that he is unfortunately not able to sell the van at this time because his daughter needs it because she has no car and no insurance. At first I was upset, but not for long. What most likely occurred was that the moment I did not commit to buying the van right after looking at, the owner went in the house and called the other guy back who previously made him an offer that was probably a bit lower than he wanted. He probably told that buyer that he was good to go and then I showed up back at his door 10 minutes later offering him what he really wanted. He was in a bad spot and knew it and that is why he did not take my deposit offer. He was probably too embarrassed or something to shoot straight with me so I got the story about his daughter so he could escape. In retrospect that was the best thing that could have happened because I was not too fond of the van and was only caving because my wife really liked it. It had over 100000 miles on it and had rust on the chassis as well, the top had some peerling, and the ac cover was cracked. And like I said was a mushy sluggy kind of ride. After a day or so I felt like sending that guy some flowers because he save me from making a costly mistake.

A few days later - I was still thinking about the van I passed on - I was checking my email and saw the correspondence with the folks who had the van with the peeling paint issue. Just for the heck of it I sent an email asking if they still had the van. The owner told me that someone had made them an offer and that they were waiting to see if their loan was approved. I said thanks and that was that. Then I got an email the next day telling me that the deal fell through and I could come back with my wife if I wanted to. So I took her to look at it, she liked it although the sleeping area seemed small to her as well - until we tested it out and determined we could both fit in there OK - and we could also use the front seats to make additional beds if needed - this is a Versatile with the 4 seats. I made the owner a low ballish offer again reiterating the paint issue, he accepted, and that is how we came to owning the 2002 Roadtrek 190 Versatile that will have it's story told here.

I am so glad that I missed out on the 210 Popular .......so glad
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